As part of IDEA, the government plans to give each farmer a unique ID number and set up an interface that would handle multiple types of digital farming transactions.

The Indian government is trying to create an “Agristack” based on the model of the NDHB and IndEA framework. The Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched this batch as India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA) and published a consultation paper for public feedback.

The advisory paper can be viewed Here.

IDEA architecture

The paper states that IndEA 2.0 was proposed as a series of architectural patterns to be adopted by small government departments to design their own ecosystem architectures. These patterns are defined in the form of building blocks.

A ‘Building block’ was defined as “A reusable package of business or technological functions” depending on the degree of decentralization. These blocks are further categorized into –

  1. Core Building Blocks: A single national-level database designed, developed, and maintained by the government.
  2. Common building blocks: They are developed and hosted by the ministry in a multi-tenant framework and can optionally be shared by the states and other ecosystem units.
  3. Reference modules: A reference module has generic functions that can be adapted as required. It is being developed by the ministry and the code is published as open source for download by the states or private sector organizations.

The outstanding features of IDEA Architecture

The basic building blocks of IDEA Core

  • Unique Farmer ID (UFID): A unique number assigned to farmers across the country.
  • IDEA core register: A series of databases that contain the unique identifiers of a company, product, or service that must be registered with a central government agency under a law, regulation, or notice.
  • IDEA core directories: Core registers contain information similar to that in a register, except that it is intended for administrative purposes and is not of a legal nature.
  • Master codes: Identifiers of locations, products and classifications that must be adopted uniformly by all organizations across the country.
  • Unified Farmer Service Interface (UFSI): The role of UFSI is comparable to that of UPI in the field of digital payments. It will handle multiple types of digital farming transactions.
  • IDEA architecture repository: According to the paper, all artifacts, building blocks and codes are hosted in the IDEA portal.

Common IDEA building blocks

  • IDEA service portal: It is stated that the portal complies with the digital service standard communicated by MeitY.
  • IDEA App Store: A platform to find all apps developed by the ministry.
  • Call center: The existing Kisan call center system (s) are expected to be realigned in accordance with IDEA principles
  • SMS (messages): The existing regulations for sending SMS messages can be checked and adapted to IDEA. The use of chatbots can also be part of the communication plan.
  • Weather data: It is a single access point for multiple weather data sets via standard APIs.

Reference modules:

  • e-NAM: The e-NAM application is converted into a reference application and hosted so that AMCs with sufficient resources can begin a rapid implementation.
  • GIS layers and tools: A number of OSS products in geospatial technology can be positioned along with the most commonly used layers.
  • IDEA Sandbox or I-Box: This is used to track compliance through data collected from farmers at various points.
  • Agricultural data exchange (or ADEx): It should be a platform for the exchange of data between several actors.
  • State core (s): The basic function of the State Core is purportedly to act as a bridge (i) between the various state departments and agencies, and (ii) between a state department and the appropriate department of the United States government.
  • Joint applications by the states: It is implied that the applications already in place in the States collecting data on farmers should be integrated into IDEA.

Proposed standards

IDEA standards, or standards required for the agricultural sector’s digital ecosystem, fall into two categories: domain standards and IT standards. The former deals with standards relating to agricultural raw materials and products and the materials used to make them. IT standards refer to different technologies and data.

Approach to developing data standards for IDEA: The paper suggests the following guidelines for the development of standards –

  1. The ministry can set up an organization to draw up these standards.
  2. A multi-stakeholder governance system with representatives from academia, government (central and state), and industry can be established.
  3. A number of multidisciplinary teams can form the organizational structure responsible for developing domain standards and IT standards.
  4. FAIR standard: FAIR (Fast Agriculture Interoperability Resources) refers to standards that enable the exchange of information between organizations and systems in international markets.

Implementation framework

The paper comes to a conclusion for a federated implementation structure with a division of tasks between the federal government and the federal states. IDEA is to be implemented through the establishment of a National Mission on Digital Agriculture (NMDA) as an autonomous wing within the National Farmers Welfare Society with an advisory body.

It is also proposed to set up partner organizations at the state level with partial funding from the Ministry.

The paper also mentions the development of an impact assessment framework to assess the results and impacts on the targeted groups of beneficiaries.

Also read:

55 organizations and groups are writing to the government for transparency about Agristack

Government forms task force for Farmer Database within AgriStack

Summary: Consultation paper published in the register of health institutions